By Tiana Dyson |

We all know that Waco is now known for Magnolia and, at one point or another, most of us have been there to experience it. And most of us have also realized that once is enough. So, we find other things to do. But once you go to Spice Village and a Baylor football game, eat at Torchy’s Tacos and study at a downtown coffee shop, what else is there to do?

1. Volunteer at Cameron Park Zoo

Most people have visited Cameron Park Zoo at one point or another, but what many don’t know is that they welcome volunteers. If you enjoy working with animals or are passionate about wildlife conservation, this would be a unique, exciting and educational experience for you.

2. Visit East Waco Library and Lula Jane’s

Recently remodeled, the East Waco Library boasts a colorful construction and holds many different events for the community. On one side of the building, you’ll find an incredibly detailed hand-painted mural depicting key points in Waco’s history. Right across the street, you will find Lula Jane’s, the gathering point of East Waco – where everything is made from scratch, farm-to-table.

3. Take a walk down Austin Avenue

From shopping and dining to entertainment, Austin Avenue has it all and more. You can spend an afternoon boutique-hopping, or enjoy dinner and a movie at the Waco Hippodrome. For dessert, head on over to the colorful Hey Sugar Candy Store. Further down the road, you can even find a wide variety of historical homes in the Castle Heights neighborhood.

4. Have a picnic at Lake Waco

Photo by Tiana Dyson

If you ever find yourself needing a change of scenery, Lake Waco is a great place to go. Throw some dinner in a basket, grab some friends and a soft blanket, and head to the lake. Sit by the water at sunset and play your favorite music through a speaker, and I promise you’ll have your own oasis right here in Waco.

5. Pay a visit to Homestead Heritage

Homestead Heritage is a Christian community-based in agriculture and craftsmanship. Their Craft Village features shopping, tours and other activities such as horse-drawn hayrides and a livestock area. If you are interested in knowing more about who they are and how they live, they also offer various tours.

6. Eat lunch on the steps of the McLennan County Courthouse

This one’s for all my Gossip Girl fans out there. Near the foot of the ALICO Building, the tall, steep staircase of the courthouse offer the perfect seats for a lunch with friends. I recommend doing this on a Saturday afternoon because the courthouse is right across from the Waco Downtown Farmers Market. It’s the perfect spot for some live music, good food, and great conversation.

7. Relax on the Waco Suspension Bridge

Photo by Tiana Dyson

The suspension bridge itself provides a great view of the Brazos River, so spend some time taking it in. Bring a good book or a good friend, hang your feet over the edge and just relax. Channel your inner artist and DIY something. Regardless of what you do, it’s a great spot to pause, reflect, and refresh. It’s also a great spot to have a photoshoot!

8. Brave the third floor of Moody and visit the Crouch Fine Arts Library

A hidden gem of Baylor’s campus, this library was recognized as one of the most distinguished music libraries in the Southwest and houses materials dating as far back as the 11th century. Some nights, you can catch performances from Baylor’s incredibly talented musicians. And, rumor has it, the library contains an apple-shaped USB device that houses all of the Beatles’ work. I guess you’ll have to find that out for yourself!

9. Have an adventure at Waco Escape Rooms

Located right downtown, Waco Escape Rooms will give you all of the thrills. Their rooms are built around a story/theme, and it is your group’s job to find a way out. They have multiple room options, so even when you master one room, there’s always a new challenge to tackle. If you have a group of friends that need some quality bonding time, there is no better way to do it then be locked in a room with them, with literally no way out.

10. Shop along La Salle Avenue

While it may not look like much at first, La Salle houses have quite a few hidden gems – and I am not talking about Magnolia Table. There are countless antique shops, like The Junky Monkey, Riverside Relics, Shades of Shabby and more. If you need to spice up your apartment, need some last-minute gift ideas, or have a free afternoon, channel your inner Joanna Gaines and shop locally.

Hopefully, at least one of these things interests you. If not, or, if you are an overachiever and have already done them all, I offer you one final suggestion: take a nap.